Hobbes 's Mechanical Treatment Of Religion

Decent Essays
While Hobbes’s mechanical treatment of religion illuminates its power as a social force, he has little use for it as a direct path to true salvation in the traditional, spiritual sense. What religion demonstrates to be instead is a delicate ingredient of man’s historical being; an element for the sovereign to recognize and embrace as an ancillary for fostering social harmony. He understands its classical, pragmatic benefit of engendering fearful obedience to the sovereign and reverence for the law, as well as the sense of responsibility it forms within the individual.
In documenting the genealogy of it’s social force, Hobbes also recognizes a potentially crippling authority of the sovereign’s power if religion is imprudently embraced or neglected. For it seems in his view of society there is a second Leviathan lurking in the depths of the commonwealth, and according to his political philosophy this artificial beast must be yoked in order to preserve social order. To Hobbes this second Leviathan is specified as the Christian Church.
In Chapter 39 of the Leviathan, Hobbes metaphorically characterizes the church (Ecclesia) as a congregation of citizens called forth to perform the holy duties of their religion. This collection of believers is not necessarily defined by an actual assemblage of Christians or a physical location of worship, but rather the whole multitude of followers dedicated to the house of god, no matter how far they be disbursed. It is in this sense that the
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